I attended this meeting in which the positions taken by the Pima County Democratic Party Executive Committee were adopted unanimously, without abstentions. If you are wondering how you should vote on the ballot measures, here is a useful explanation of the ballot measures to guide your decision.
Pima Dems Support One Ballot Prop, Reject Two
Arizona voters on November 4 will decide whether to adopt three statewide ballot initiatives. The Pima County Democratic Party makes the following recommendations on those propositions:
Proposition 122– Rejection of Unconstitutional Federal Actions.
This measure would put a provision in the Arizona Constitution to allow the state (and municipalities) to reject any federal law that officials determine violates the United States Constitution. It also prohibits the use of public employees or resources to enforce or cooperate with a federal action to which they object.
Prop. 122 originated in the Arizona Legislature with lawmaker-turned-lobbyist Jonathan Paton on behalf of Jack Biltis, the Scottsdale millionaire who supported a similar measure which failed to qualify for the ballot in 2012.
This is yet another attempt by Tea Party “Tenthers” to put the long discredited and unconstitutional theories of states’ rights “nullification and interposition” on the 2014 ballot.
Nullification and interposition are patently unconstitutional. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and under separation of powers and judicial review, only the U.S. Supreme Court can determine whether a federal law is constitutional, not the Arizona legislature or state courts. Prop. 122 will result in a long string of taxpayer-funded frivolous lawsuits before being struck down as unconstitutional.
Vote no on Proposition 122.
Proposition 303– Use of Investigational Drugs, Biological Products and Devices.
This act, also known as the “Terminal Patient’s Right to Try” law, would give terminally-ill patients access to not-yet-approved drugs as a last resort. While this may seem compassionate, the Goldwater Institute-backed Prop. 303 would create too many dangerous, expensive, and unintended consequences to make it worth supporting.
Beyond the potential for giving people a false hope for a cure, the measure has the potential to bankrupt and financially devastate not only those patients but also their families as they drain their bank accounts to continue their experimental treatment. Prop. 303 permits insurance companies to decide whether or not to cover investigational drugs– most insurers do not, and those that do charge co-pays and high deductibles. Further, it provides blanket protection from liability for the insurance, medical and pharmaceutical industries, but zero protection for patients from unscrupulous members of the medical profession who might seek to profit from desperate families. While the proposition requires drugs to have passed Phase One of the FDA process and be part of a clinical trial, it essentially makes the terminally ill guinea pigs for pharmaceutical companies. The majority of experimental drugs still fail after phase one trials.
Vote no on Proposition 303.
Proposition 304– Increase in the Salaries of State Legislators.
This will raise the annual salaries of state lawmakers from $24,000 to $35,000 as recommended by the State Commission on Salaries for Elected State Officers. Arizona voters have routinely rejected such an increase, the last coming in 1998.
We realize it may seem to be throwing good money after bad given the performance of the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature and their penchant for passing obviously unconstitutional laws such as SB 1070 that leave taxpayers on the hook for attorneys fees and the other costs that come with defending their bad ideas in court.
The Democratic Party believes in paying everyone a livable wage, including state lawmakers, and the current salary discourages diversity at the Capitol by making it virtually impossible for single mother heads of households and young people at the start of their careers from being able to serve while favoring retired, independently wealthy people who do not need a supplemental income.
We also believe that increasing legislative salaries will serve to attract more qualified individuals to and allow legislators to better concentrate on their duties at the Capitol instead of having to worry about issues at home.
Vote yes on Proposition 304.
Please note: the Pima County Democratic Party previously has endorsed Proposition 415, the local referendum that would approve a bond to pay for improvements to Pima County’s animal care facility. Please vote yes on Proposition 415.